In a Dark House by Deborah Crombie

4760054  This is book 10 in the Duncan Kincaid/Gemma James series.  The mystery in this books contains a body found in a burnt building.  The fire was arson and the reader gets glimpses into the arsonists thoughts as he sets the blaze.  Duncan is investigating the arson and Gemma in a round about way is investigating a missing persons case.  Are they related?  Is Gemma’s missing person the body in the fire?  Gemma is also searching for a missing child?  As the police hunt for the identity of the victim, they also search for the link to the fire and other fires that are occurring.  An MP is the owner of the burnt building which makes the case a political minefield.  In the midst of all this professional turmoil, there is also a subplot involving Kit’s custody to add to the pressure mounting on Duncan and Gemma.

Great read, the mystery involves so many twists and turns, who is the victim?  How or are the cases linked?  Where is the missing child and how does she fit into all this?  I really like how we see  Duncan and Gemma’s personal life and experience that tug between the personal and professional life that parents often experience.  Highly recommended read.


The Sculptress by Minette Walters

41325  The book opens with Rosalind (Roz) arriving at  a prison to interview a killer referred to as The Sculptress, who has already spent years behind bars.  The Sculptress, Olive, admitted to killing and dismembering her mother and younger sister in the family kitchen.  Roz wants to write a book about her as a last ditch effort to keep her publishing contract.  Both women have trust issues and have been hurt and suffered terrible losses.  As Roz starts her investigation, the threads of Olive’s case unravel.  Is Olive the victim of horrible miscarriage of justice or is she a master manipulator playing on Roz’s vulnerabilities?  The book plays with the idea of how close anyone could be to committing a horrible crime when pushed by the right forces.

The main theme explored here is trust and it is exemplified in Roz and Olive’s relationship as well as Roz’s dealing with the people she meets in her investigation.  This is a book about a vicious sickening crime and is a completely suspenseful and compelling read.  I had other things to do today, but it kept pulling me back in. I had to know the truth about Olive and what happens to Roz.  Great read!

Now May You Weep by Deborah Crombie

18090213  This is book 9 in the Duncan Kincaid/Gemma James series.  This book in the series is definitely Gemma-centric.  She has recovered from her miscarriage and has gone on a brief trip with Hazel to Scotland.  Once there she realizes the trip is not simply a girl’s getaway, but that Hazel and others have ulterior motives connected to Hazel’s past and perhaps her future.  There is also a plot involving Kit’s grandmother and her ongoing attempt for custody and a plot line in the form of Hazel’s ancestors which provide foreshadowing and finally explanation for some of the current day events.

I love the character of Gemma and she has shown such growth since this series began, she is a very three dimensional character.  This storyline provides another step in Gemma’s growth as a woman and a partner and in solidifying her and Duncan’s relationship.  The mystery is interesting with twists and red herrings.  The Scottish setting adds vivid color to the  book and pulls the reader into the story.   Great mystery read in a series that gets better and better as it goes.

Hard Wired by Kathleen McKay

31569118  I received a free ebook of Hard Wired from NetGalley in exchange for a fair review.

Charlie is a hard working widow without many qualifications.  She gave up  on her education, had her child young, and then her husband died.  This leads her to  a series of working class jobs as she tries to keep a roof over her and her daughter, Casey’s head.  Her current job is working as a guard/monitor at a bail hostel.  This job exposes her to knowledge of criminals and the law.  She is conscientious and works hard, often working the graveyard shift.

She comes home to find that a neighbor and friend’s son is missing, later to be found dead.  Being that the child, Darren, had been in trouble with the law and had a mother who does not really present herself well to the police or media, there is not much hope that the case will be solved.  Charlie begins to investigate the crime using a surprisingly keen intelligence and a determination to find justice for Darren.  Through this process she discovers or perhaps rediscovers herself.  This is all set against a rather grim backdrop of life in a neighborhood where many people don’t work, others live paycheck to paycheck barely making it, and many  boys find themselves in the criminal justice system.

The mystery focuses on what it means to try to find justice when the victim doesn’t generate much sympathy.  Outside of the mystery, there are subplots involving Charlie’s daughter’s  education and future.  Will she follow in her mother’s footsteps?  Finally, there is the personal growth of Charlie’s character over the course of the book.  These three pieces fit together in a tightly woven story line.  Highly recommended read.

Everything We Keep by Kerry Lonsdale

29639736  I received a free ebook of Everything We keep from NetGalley in exchange for a fair review.

This book begins with  the protagonist Aimee burying her fiance on what should have been the day of her wedding.  The rest of the book involves Aimee’s grief recovery? I guess that is what it was supposed to be.  If I had not needed to review for NetGalley, I would not have finished this book.  It comes across as very dated, specialty coffee shop what a novel idea!!!  Aimee herself is a very one note character, all we really know about her is that she is grieving, grieving some more, and still grieving,  she know how to make coffee, and she basically gets walked all over by everyone she meets/knows and has been her whole life.  She appears too immature, even childlike, to have been contemplating marriage in the first place.

The plot throws in evil corporate wrong doers,  jealous/sociopathic family member, insurance fraud, unreported rape,  government crime fighting secret plot,  misunderstood artists, a psychic???,  and one of my least favorite tropes, convenient amnesia.  I just couldn’t buy into any of this.


Lizzie’s Christmas Escape by Christie Barlow

31359737  I received a free ebook of Lizzie’s Christmas Escape from NetGalley in exchange for a fair review.

It is coming up on the holiday season and Lizzie is ready for a change.  Something, anything needs to happen.  Her daughters have left for uni and her husband Henry is just this vague lump, who watches darts on the telly and doesn’t seem to interact with her at all.  On top of the loneliness, Lizzie is feeling the yearning for a career of her own after years of being a stay at home mum with odd sewing jobs thrown in on the side.   Her best friend, Ann, is dealing with the end of her mother’s life and a promotion at work at the same time.  Throw in a charming, new, single neighbor into this pot, stir well and watch what happens.

This is a great book about middle age, marriage after the kids are grown, depression, friendship  and asking the question, “Is this all there is?”  Very relateable characters and  a story written to make you laugh and cry makes this a great read!

The Forgotten Woman by Angela Marsons

30988887-_sy180_  I received a free ebook of this title, The Forgotten Woman by Angela Marsons, from NetGalley in return for a fair review.

This is gripping, tension filled story outlining the lives of two very different women.  Fran, a successful lawyer, from a high achieving family and Kit, a former child prostitute.  Their lives intersect at an AA meeting.  From there the stories unfold, Fran’s past and Kit’s, two women who should have nothing in common, nothing to build a friendship on and yet they do.  There are tension filled moments, secrets uncovered and demons faced. The book discusses dark issues including child prostitution, drug and alcohol abuse, rape, and death of a child.

I particularly liked the resolution of Kit’s story, as it was not what would be expected.  I read this through in one sitting, it is a compelling read.  I would recommend this to readers of general fiction who like their reads dark.






Christmas at the Little Village Bakery by Tilly Tennant

30841881  I received a free ebook of this title, Christmas at the Little Village Bakery from NetGalley in exchange for a fair review.

This is book 2 in the Honeybourne series by Tilly Tennant. This book centers on Spencer and Tori who return to Spencer’s home in a small village in England for the Christmas holidays and to introduce the two sets of parents.  Spencer and Tori are engaged but with no date yet set for the wedding.  Although the book centers on their story, we meet plenty of other people who have their own issues, Millie and Dylan, Jasmine and Rich, Darcie and…well you’ll have to read it to see.  There are also the two diametrically opposed sets of parents (one set British and liberal and the other American conservatives) who set sparks (not the good kind) flying.  Throw in unplanned for snow storms, an AWOL soldier, a broody mother of triplets and there is plenty found here to entertain the reader.

Lots of fun Christmas and village life atmosphere to be found here.  I do think I would have enjoyed this more if I would have read the first book in the series.  It seems that there were many references to past events.   Cute Christmas read for romance fans.

An English Murder by Louise Doughty

1236550  This was an impuse buy.  I’ve never heard of the author or the book but just grabbed it off the shelf anyway.

This is less of a “who dunnit” and more of a “how and why dunnit”.  The murder(s) in question are a middle aged couple who mainly keep to themselves and live a reclusive life centered around the dictates of the husband and father, Mr. Cowper.  They have a teenage daughter Gemma who is now missing and the center of a search and rescue effort…or is it a manhunt?  Alison is a small time news reporter for a local weekly and lives just down the road from the famly. She is financially strapped and finding a big story which she could sell to the Nationals would provide welcome relief.  Between her job and the proximity of the murders, she takes a keen interest. Alison is mostly estranged from her own mother and father and has some limited contact with her brother.  The book winds its way through the family life of both the Cowper’s and Allison’s family drawing some parallels and yet not causing Allison reflect too closely.   .

The focus of this book is families.  The family that looks “normal” down the street, what do you really know about them?   How do events from your childhood shape the adult you are today?  What are the dangers of trying to live through your children?  Having your own hopes, dreams and expectations for them, that maybe they can’t or don’t want to live up to.  There is a lot of exploration with no pat answers.  The book is tension filled and engaging.  I would highly recommend for people who like their mysteries with more of psychological bend.


Eeny Meeny & The Girl They Couldn’t Steal

Eeny Meeny by M.J. Arlidge is the first in the Helen Grace series.  The story is about  a serial killer who kidnaps victims in pairs and then turns them against each other as hunger and thirst set in driving them to commit horrible acts.  As the case evolves and more victims are involved DI Helen Grace races to find out the connection between the victims.  Why are these people being chosen?  is her primary question. If she can just discover the link, then she can prevent the next crime and capture the criminal.  Helen’s squad includes Mark, who is fighting his own personal demons throughout the case, Charlie, who just recently discovered she is pregnant and a Superintendent who has his own interests at heart.

Thrilling twists and turns throughout this fast paced thriller.  Helen Grace is a complex and well drawn character, who has her own demons but gives 110% to the job.  DS Mark Fuller is a tragic character, who is well written and provides an excellent counterpoint to Helen.  This is a compelling reading that kept me turning the pages until it was done.  I will definitely read the next in this series.

The Girl They Couldn’t Steal is a thriller involved with child abduction and trafficking.  Amy has always known she is adopted but has no information regarding her birth family.  Now that she has graduated medical school and has six months before buckling down to work she sets out to investigate who she really is.  She sets off a chain of events far bigger than she can imagine, involving multiple countries and criminals of all kinds and at all levels.  Russian Mobsters, Chechens, Old School English Gangsters, Retired British Military, and corrupt police,  Amy faces them all down in her search.  Parts of this were interesting and engaging, but at times Amy and other’s actions  seemed illogical and just not very smart.  The book ends up with many, but definitely not all threads tied up and has lead-ins to the next book in the trilogy.  Interesting read that made me want to know what happened. but I am not sure if I would read the two more books to find out.